Sam was sitting at his desk, his brow furrowed, staring confused at a letter in his hands, when his assistant burst into his office and closed the door. "Sam!"
"Cathy," he interrupted without looking up, "This is a letter from Rob Forsyth from the AFL-CIO, and he mentions the tickets he gave me for the Orioles - Yankees game. Asks me if I enjoyed them."
"You wanna send him a letter to thank him," assumed Cathy.
Sam looked up and took off his glasses. "Well, I can see where you would think that. But here's the thing, I never received the tickets and therefore I didn't have the opportunity to enjoy them." Cathy nodded in understanding. "Do you have any idea what he could be talking about?"
"The Orioles - Yankees game," she asked. "Was that on Wednesday?"
"Yeah, I think so."
She thought for a minute, then replied, "Oh right. He had a meeting with Toby last Monday and stopped by afterwards to say hello, but you were on the Hill. Anyway, he thought you might like the tickets, so he left them with me to give to you."
"And you didn't give them to me," Sam concluded.
"The game was on Wednesday," she explained. When it was clear by his expression that he wasn't following, she sighed and said, "You had a meeting with Wick and Sugerbaker that night, that," she added quickly as he opened his mouth to protest, "you really couldn't cancel." She fixed her gaze on him, daring him to argue.
Recognizing the futility of such an action, not to mention fear of what she would do if he tried, Sam finally grimaced in resignation. "Did you have a good time at the game, Cathy?"
She bubbled excitedly. "It was awesome. Yankees won in double overtime. And our seats were fantastic, right on the third base line."
Biting his tongue, he said, "Well, I'm glad you enjoyed my tickets."
"I knew you'd feel that way," she replied, ignoring his sarcasm.
As she turned to leave, he called, "Cathy, be sure we send a thank you card to Rob."
Her hand was on the handle when she remembered what she had come for. "Oh, Sam. You'll never guess what Ginger just told me."
"Is she in," Josh asked as he walked past Carol's desk.
"No," CJ's assistant answered, shuffling through briefing books and files. "She's in the Situation Room, sitting in on the President's briefing on Libya."
"Has something happened?"
"Nothing new," replied Carol. She found the file she was looking for and started to read through it for a final time before she gave it to CJ. "She's just getting some questions in the press room and wanted to make sure she knew what she was talking about when she answered."
"Always a good idea," he said.
"The situation is pretty complex."
"Yeah," she agreed, slightly preoccupied with her reading.
"Not to mention the labyrinthine aspect of our foreign policy towards the region," added Josh. When she didn't reply, he looked over her shoulder. "Czechoslovakia is misspelled."
With a soft sigh, Carol closed the file and turned her full attention to Josh. With a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, she asked, "Would you like me tell CJ you need to talk to her when she gets back?"
Flashing the boyish grin he always used to get out of trouble, Josh said, "No, that's okay. I'll just catch her at staff." He took a few steps away, then turned around and asked casually, "Carol, do you know what CJ's eight o'clock meeting tonight is about?"
Her smile disappeared. "What meeting?"
"Doesn't she have a meeting scheduled for eight tonight?"
Carol searched her books for some clue about a meeting, but couldn't find anything. "I don't have anything about one," she fretted.
"I must have misunderstood," Josh said smoothly. He was too busy mentally congratulating his detective skills to notice his attempt to assure CJ's assistant had failed miserably. "See you later, Carol."
When CJ returned from her briefing fifteen minutes later, she found Carol frantically scouring her desk. "Did you lose something?"
Carol's head snapped up to face her boss. "Do you have a business meeting tonight at eight?"
"No," CJ cocked her head questioningly as her assistant collapsed back in her chair breathing a sigh of relief. "Why?"
"Josh mentioned a meeting," she answered. "But I didn't have anything written down, so I-"
"What exactly did he say," interrupted CJ.
"Uh..." Carol thought for a moment. "He asked what your eight o'clock meeting tonight was about."
A slow smile came over CJ's lips. Bait taken.
"He called her Jules?"
Sam shook his head disbelievingly. "Toby?"
"Called a Ms. Juliana Schaffer, Jules?"
"Yes, Sam," Cathy sighed.
"I don't understand," he mumbled under his breath. "I thought-"
"Did you say something?"
Sam paused thoughtfully, then asked, "Did Ginger say if she recognized the woman's voice?"
"She didn't." Cathy glanced at her watch, her enthusiasm for the newest piece of gossip waning with every passing second.
"She didn't say or she didn't-"
"She didn't recognize the woman's voice, Sam," she replied testily.
"Okay," he yielded quickly. She was almost to the door, when he decided to press his luck and ask. "Cathy, he said eight o'clock at the Seasons?"
Caught off guard by his question, she simply answered, "I think so."
She stared at him for a few moments, then her eyes narrowed. "No."
His pathetic attempt to look innocent only served to strengthen the conviction in her tone. "No, Sam."
"I don't know what you are talking about," he replied, not fooling his assistant for one moment.
A minute passed silently as she stared intently at him. Finally, she spoke, her voice low. "When Toby catches you and proceeds to torture before ultimately killing you, my name better not pass your lips, Sam."
Her attitude didn't dampen his obvious enthusiasm as he grinned and watched her leave, before picking up the phone, quickly dialing the number from memory.
"Hi," he said after a moment. "I was wondering if I could pick you up a little earlier tonight? Say around seven thirty?" He shrugged subconsciously. "I can't wait to see you. Okay. I'll see you later, Mallory."
"Donna, where are the-"
"On your desk," she answered, continuing to sort through the mail.
Josh took a step towards his office, when suddenly he realized his bullpen was practically empty. "Where is everyone? What time is it?"
"Gone; and twenty to eight," replied Donna.
"I gotta go."
That got her attention. "What," she exclaimed as she stormed after him.
Josh was standing behind his desk, haphazardly throwing files into his book bag. "I have to leave."
"What about the notes Ms. Black's office sent over for midterms? You said we needed to review them so you could finish your report for Leo."
"We'll do it tomorrow," he shrugged.
You don't have time tomorrow, Josh," retorted Donna. "Besides, I canceled my plans because you said we had to do this tonight. You are not leaving this building until we have this done."
Josh thought for a moment, then coming to a decision, he grabbed his coat and began to put it on. "Grab the papers and your notebook," he ordered. "We'll do this over dinner, my treat."
"And I get this weekend off."
"Take it or leave it," she said firmly.
"Take it," he sighed. "Hurry."
"Would you care for a drink?"
"Yeah, we'll have-" the man started, when the younger woman interrupted him.
"Two ginger ales."
The waiter couldn't help the small smile that crossed his lips at the blonde's tone and the look she was now giving her date. He had heard that tone and seen that look many, many times with his own girlfriend, and he found it immeasurably more enjoyable when it was directed at someone else. "Two ginger ales," he repeated dutifully and left the couple alone for what he was sure would be a fun conversation.
"Donna," he whined.
"Josh, we have work to do," she replied. "When it's done, you can have your scotch. But, I'd suggest you stick to only one drink," she grinned wickedly. "You don't want to have to explain to Leo why you came to work hung over twice in a week."
"You have a delicate system, Josh."
"Would you stop saying that," he said, a little too loudly, as the waiter returned. Josh rolled his eyes at the sympathetic look the boy was giving him.
"Two ginger ales," he said, setting the drinks on the table. "Would you like to order something to eat?"
"Not at the moment," answered Donna. "Thank you."
She reached into her bag and pulled out the files. "I'm going to go to the ladies room to freshen up, and when I get back, we are going to work on this."
Looking up from her reflection, she saw her friend standing behind her.
Sam was on his way back to his table from the bar, when he heard a familiar voice arguing with a waiter.
"Look, I'm paying the bill. Just do what I say and bring me my drink."
The waiter took advantage of his customer's distraction to escape to the safety of the kitchen.
"What are you doing here," they both asked at the same time. Before either could respond, however, they were interrupted by a third voice.
"That's what we would like to know."
Cringing, Sam and Josh turned to see Mallory and Donna looking at them warily.
"What do you mean," Josh asked weakly.
"Sam changed our reservations from Phoebe's to here at last minute, because he just remembered that the head chef at Phoebe's doesn't like him," Mallory stated skeptically.
Josh snorted and glanced over to his best friend, who just shrugged, when Donna added, "And you were in such a hurry to get here, you promised me the entire weekend off."
"What's going on," Mallory asked.
Josh was about to make up something when he saw familiar face out of the corner of his eye. "Sit down," he yelped and grabbed Donna, pulling her down; Sam doing the same thing with Mallory.
"Joshua," Donna cried. "What in the hell do you think..." her voice trailed off as she followed his astonished gaze. All four sat in shock as they took in the sight of CJ and Toby standing together in the entrance of the dining room. Toby, CJ, and another man and woman.